CSPH 5401: People, Plants, and Drugs: Introduction to Ethnopharmacology
This course is offered completely online.
Ethnopharmacology is the interdisciplinary science of medicinal plants or natural products utilized by humans. These people-plant (typically) relationships have historically and imminently have produced important medicines integral to modern medicine. Ethnopharmacology integrates aspects of botany, natural products chemistry, pharmacology, pharmacognosy, anthropology, medicine, psychology and comparative religious study. The discipline researches human interactions with biologically active plants (and other living things) as medicines, poisons, and intoxicants with a primary focus on indigenous and non- Western cultures. Ethnopharmacology seeks to document plants and animals used by various cultures, and describe their use and preparation. These plants and their preparations are then studied to identify, isolate, and characterize the active compounds responsible for the plants actions on people.
This introductory ethnopharmacology course will cover both the ethnographic and scientific aspects critical to the process of drug discovery and the evolution of modern medicine. Students will compare cross-cultural perspectives on human interactions with drugs and examine the variety of human interaction with biologically active organisms in their environment.
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